elle_icon.gif linda2_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Anything
Synopsis A watcher reveals herself to two disenchanted ladies of Shalott.
Date September 14, 2010

Lighthouse Park

Blackwell Island Lighthouse, which is also known as Welfare Island Lighthouse and Roosevelt Island Lighthouse is a stone lighthouse built by New York City in 1872. The lighthouse is approximately 50 feet tall and is constructed of gray gneiss, rough ashlar that was quarried on the island by inmates from the penitentiary that once stood on the island in that era. There is an entrance on the south side under a projecting gable and a pointed Gothic arch leading up to the top of the lighthouse proper, though this entrance is closed to public accrss. Two south-facing slit windows in the shaft light the interior. At the top of the shaft there is a band of ornamented corbels below the gallery, which is surrounded by an iron railing. The lantern is octagonal with a shallow conical roof.

The Lighthouse itself is surrounded by a small but beautifully kept parkland of well manicured grass, wrought-iron trimmed benches and scenic coastal views that are unfortunately marred by New York City's more violent recent history. From the west side of the park, the jagged skyline of Midtown's ruins stands as an unavoidable monument to the catastrophic loss of life felt in the fall of 2006, while the gaping hole in the eastern skyline that once held the candy-cane striped smoke stacks of the Consolidated Edison Power Plant in Queens is a reminder of even more recent terrorist destruction from 2009. Few people who visit the park fail to see the balance in such a well-tended and beautiful parkland flanked by such devastation.

Fall has slowly begun to creep up on the city of New York. The temperatures no longer soar to levels of unbearable heat, thankfully, but each day is just a little bit shorter than the one that came before it. A breeze blows through the hair of two women seated on a bench in Roosevelt Island's Lighthouse Park, one light and one dark, both petite in build and with similar taste in shoes.

Odessa Price reaches up and pulls an errant strand of hair free from her face, her long, almost bony fingers brushing over the black patch adorned with shiny silver stars of varying sizes over her left eye. Between her and her companion, Elle Bishop, sits a large bag of what one might suspect at first glance is bird seed. But as Odessa reaches in to grab a handful and scatter it out in front of them, it shows that the bag instead filled with dry, uncooked white rice and something finer, rougher. Something ground down and interspersed.

A smile crosses Odessa's lips. It would appear she's enjoying herself.

It's getting to be rather chilly today. Elle is dressing just a little warmer as the temperatures begin to lower, with shorts and skirts replaced mostly by pants. Today, she's looking rather comfortable, decked out in a pair of somewhat ratty blue jeans and a half-sleeved black shirt. Her hands scoop into the bag every once in a while, taking up some of the mixture and tossing it out to the birds that have gathered, a thoughtful expression on her face.

She doesn't know exactly why Odessa wanted to come here, but she does know that the mixture in the bag will kill the birds. She doesn't know why Odessa would want to kill birds, either, but…well, less birds means far less poop on her windshield, in Elle's mind. And that more than makes the fact that they are killing innocent creatures okay for Elle.

Besides, she's not in a good mood right now. Nor has she been since she spent the night at Harper's.

Odessa leans back against the bench, stretching both arms out across the back of it and tipping her head toward the sky. "What do you make of…" She trails off and shakes her head. No, she doesn't like that for a beginning. "Do you really think this is going to be any different than working for the Company?"

"No. It's going to be just the same as the Company, with maybe a little bit more employee appreciation. But only a little bit." Elle shakes her head slowly, tossing out another handful of the deadly mixture for the birds to peck up. "And we're going to be hunting down some of the people we used to work with. People we used to work for." The brunette frowns, squinting down into the bag.

"Not to sound like Bella Sheridan here, but…" Odessa turns her head so she can levels her gaze on Elle. It's become difficult to look at someone out of the corner of her eye when they're sitting on her blind side. "How do you feel about?" The doctor's tone is carefully guarded, so as not to give away just yet how she feels about the subject.

A thoughtful blue-eyed gaze is turned to Odessa, and Elle is silent for a moment as she ponders her answer to that question. "I don't trust them. Even if—" Even if she does find herself liking Desmond Harper more than she would prefer to admit. "Even if they've done things for me, I can't help but feel they're using me, just like everyone uses me. Doubt I'm wrong about it." She squints back down at the bag.

"Not to interrupt the little therapy session you have going here," says a voice, light and feminine from somewhere in the bench's periphery, "but I was wondering if you lovely ladies might have some time to chat."

Odessa can rest assured that the birds aren't talking to her, and although the voice is unmistakably female, it also lacks any identifiable accent. Fading sunlight leaks through the branches of the park's trees, turning green leaves to gold and outlining their shapes in a soft glow. It reflects off the water, too, creating a glare that the women will have to squint against if they turn their heads in that direction, but there's no sign of anyone on the concrete path that winds behind the bench and circles around the lighthouse that gives the park its name.

Odessa opens her mouth to speak when another woman seems to join their conversation. She's quick to stand up from the bench, one hand stretched out in front of her, toward the sound of the voice.

"Time to chat," the white-haired woman murmurs flatly as she squints against the glare off the water. "Certainly. Though what we're willing to chat about has a great deal to do with who you are."

Elle frowns at the interjection from another woman. Normally, she would be jumping up right along with Odessa, but she's feeling lazy. And irritable. And she'd really rather just be throwing rice at the birds and watching with grim satisfaction as they eat their last meals.

But that's not looking like it's going to be happening for her today.

Elle squints toward the sound of the voice. One hand at her side crackles, just a little, with her electricity, a warning that quickly fades. "What Odessa said," Elle murmurs, running a hand through her hair. "What did you want to chat about?"

"I'm a visionary," the voice announces. There's a pause then, a moment's hesitation that Odessa and Elle can feel hanging heavy in the air like the smell of the harbour wafting across the grass. "Or working for one, anyway. Listen. I'll make you a deal: slip that hand back in your pocket and we can conduct this conversation like civilized people. You too, Sparky. You don't want to see what's in my bag of tricks."

Slowly, Odessa brings both hands up, palms out in the universal show of surrender, a display of being unarmed. Her frosty demeanour melts away after a moment's contemplation. "I'm listening. Though I'd much appreciate having a face to look at. Less awkward like that." That one blue eye flits down to lock with Elle's, expression encouraging the other woman to stand down as well.

Her brows raised, the little brunette's crackling hand stops crackling, the electricity disappearing. "Sure." Elle promptly tosses out another handful of seeds to the ground, watching nonchalantly. Killing things makes life just a little easier to cope with, sometimes. Plus, Pidgeons are apparently good for eating. Not that she'll try that notion. "What 'Dessa said, could you possibly show your face? Right now, it feels rather strange and disconcerting, speaking to someone who I can't see."

The woman who appears in response to Odessa's request seems to step out of the closest tree, but she and Elle won't be fooled: it's only an illusion. Colour seeps into a her shape, filling out the material of the long red coat she wears and the faded denim of her jeans, creamy skin and a headful of dark hair worn long and loose like a cartoon chameleon caught impersonating the brick wall behind it.

Invisibility is a power that both Odessa and Elle have encountered before during their time with the Company, and although they might not recognize the stranger, they can at least recognize how she managed to sneak up on them.

"Hi. I'm Linda."

Odessa watches with narrow suspicion as Linda reveals herself. "Feel free to correct me if I've misunderstood the situation, but I'm going to go ahead and assume you already know who we are." She straightens herself up to her full height, which is admittedly still not all that impressive even with the aid of her high heeled shoes. A brief swell in the breeze sends Odessa's light grey trench coat flapping at her stocking-clad legs and charcoal pencil skirt.

Elle's brows rise on her forehead as Linda reveals herself, her head canting toward the side as she regards the invisible woman. "Aha, she shows her face. Much better, thank you." Elle leans back on the ench, peering toward her. "Okay, Linda, nice to meet you. Now that introductions are out of the way, we're all ears. Say whatever it is that needs to be said." This is stated with a gesture to indicate that she'd like Linda to hurry up and spit it out.

Linda makes a so-so gesture with her hand, tipping it back and forth. As she does, sparks of white electricity crackle at the tips of her fingers and spread through the veins of her arm, lighting up her bones like the filaments in a lightbulb. When it drops, she tucks it into her pocket like she asked Odessa to do. "I know of you," she clarifies, "insofar as I was sent here by my employer to extend an offer on his behalf. Interested?"

"Patience, Ellie," Odessa urges gently. "All good things." Whether she means will come to those who wait, or must come to an end is debatable. There's a light in her eye and a smirk to her lips as she listens to Linda, watching the little display of power with obvious interest. Her hands slide into her coat pockets finally. "You have my attention. I never turn down the chance to hear what may be a good counter-offer."

Elle tilts her head toward Linda as the woman suddenly crackles with electricity. Her brows are probably stuck in the raised position right now, with all of the eyebrow raising she's been doing of late. Now that is interesting. Elle leans forward, resting her chin in her hand, and in turn resting her elbow on her knee. She's about to speak again, but Odessa urges her to show patience. She rolls her eyes toward her former room mate, then back to Linda. "Continue."

The corner of Linda's mouth hooks up around a smile that may or may not be genuine, and she circles the bench at a leisurely pace, the fingers of her hand not in her pocket dancing across wood. The heels of her boots click against the pavement and carry her toward the flock of pigeons, which explodes into the air with a papery patter of wings. The birds scatter, stream toward the lighthouse and the safety the railing on the upper level provides — not that it particularly matters for those who have already ingested Odessa's rice-and-poison cocktail.

"If I told you that you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?"

Odessa is momentarily stunned by the question poised to her. "It… doesn't work like that," she replies cautiously. "You can't change just one thing." Her barely-there brows furrow in worry and she turns to Elle. "We'd save our mothers, wouldn't we?" She entertains the thought all the same. Save their mothers, grow up different women, presumably. The prospect is both appealing and terrifying, and it shows in Odessa's features.

Elle is suddenly leaning forward so far off of the bench that she looks like she's about to topple over at any moment. That got her attention. She straightens up a little, turning a glance toward Odessa, before looking back to Linda. "My…my mother, yes." She says this in a quiet tone, frowning. "I'd save her from Arthur Petrelli…" She frowns down toward the ground, the implications of what this interesting offer could mean rolling through her thoughts.

"Change one thing," Linda concedes, "change everything, but that's exactly the point. The man I work for wants to give you girls a second chance. Not because you're special — you aren't — but because he recognizes the value of your parents' lives. Colin, Rianna. Eleanor. Imagine going back, making a few small adjustments and coming home to—

"Well. Home. You could have lives. Real ones. Not this charade Simon Broome is asking you to put on." She scuffs the toe of one boot through the dirt, kicking up flecks of rice and the occasional stray feather shimmering silver or violet, then glances back up at Odessa and Elle with a broadening smile. "Before you say anything, I get it. I really do. You've been wronged before, Odessa. First by the Company, then Kazimir Volken, Carlisle Dreyfus, the Ferrymen— Your track record's just one long procession of failure and betrayal. Elle hasn't got it much better."

It's a stony expression that Odessa wears as Linda starts to explain the idea to her and her companion. As Linda circles the pair, Odessa is turning with her, never allowing the woman her back.

"How do you know so much about me?" Much of Elle's life - to the best of Odessa's knowledge - is a matter of record for anyone who's managed to get her Company or Institute files, but most of that is Odessa's personal tragedy. Not entirely secret, but not advertised, either.

"What does your employer have to gain by us changing our lives?" And Odessa is certain that this would alter the course of their lives. It's difficult to even begin to guess what sort of women they would both be now.

Elle has fallen silent as Linda speaks, her blue eyes trailing over the poisoned rice and feathers that litter the ground that the woman walks over. Everything could be different. She could have her mother back…maybe have a childhood. A life. Everything she always wanted. Parents. Real, live parents. Daddy did say that it was supposed to be different, that her mother was supposed to be the one to raise her. She might have had no reason to even set fire to her grandmother's house, to kill her…

Suddenly, Elle raises sharply to her feet, staring hard at Linda. "What's the catch?" Despite the question…the look on her face, and her posturing, suggest that she's wondering if they can leave now.

"We've been watching," Linda says with a casual shrug of her shoulders. "You didn't see us, but when you pulled that stunt at Eagle Electric that almost got you and Elias de Luca killed, we were there. We were there, watching over you during your love affair with the morphine — believe me when I say it's no coincidence that you're still alive. And we were there when Sylar's father murdered your parents. Tried to stop it, once, but even I'm no match for him."

Elle's demand causes her brows to lift, but no surprise filters into her expression. "No catch. Maybe we ask you to help us out with a few other things, but you can always tell us to fuck off if you want."

The young doctor sucks in a slow, deep breath. "No." Lips part, her expression some mixture of hurt, confused, and incredulous. "Nobody could possibly…" For all that Odessa's sure she's able to cover her tracks, and stay hidden when she's really trying, she can't quite fathom that someone would have been watching her. She shakes her head, shaggy white hair catching on mascara-heavy lashaes and glossed lips. "Why?" Her glance flits to Elle and then back to Linda once more.

"Why me? Why would you follow me?" For all that she's assured of her own importance, even Odessa has to wonder why she's been watched, if she's not special, as Linda put it. "There's always a catch," she insists. "There's no such thing as altruism. Everyone expects something in return for their acts. Especially something like this."

That…is all that Elle needs to hear, apparently. A brief glance is cast over to Odessa, the brunette's eyes seeking out the white-haired woman's eye. Then, Elle Bishop turns her gaze up to Linda, thoughtfully reguarding her. Her gaze breaks after but a short amount of time, staring down at the ground as she formulates her words. Then, in that same low voice, she speaks. "Whether or not 'Dessa wants to do it… I want to do it."

Another glance is turned toward Odessa, this one a bit helpless. How can she even think of turning this down? She has no memories or recollections of her mother, save for what she remembers from the videos at the Bishop Summer House. "I can't turn this down, Dessa…I would do— " She frowns. She would do anything.

"June twenty-ninth," Linda answers, "ninteen seventy-two. Colorado. A man named Daniel Linderman was supposed to kill me, but Samuel— he intervened. Stepped in and saved my life. You're right, it's not altruism. He needs me for his work. Your parents, too."

She folds long, slender arms across her chest and leans against an iron railing that separates the patch of dirt from the grass. "Elle's got the right idea. You don't have to do anything that you don't want to, like I said. There's no shortage of unhappy in this city. He asks you to change something and you're uncomfortable with the idea? No problem — we find somebody else. And you don't have to decide now. I can come back in a few days, maybe a week. Time's relative."

"Ellie…" Odessa turns a concerned, but not unsympathetic eye to her friend. She slowly brings her hands up out of her pockets to wring in front of her. "We'd be completely different people." Without casting a look Linda's way, Odessa's arm snaps out toward the woman to freeze her in place. "What if by doing this, by growing up with my parents, I'm not there to help Elias destroy Eagle Electric? What if Kazimir Volken unleashes the Shanti Virus because I wasn't there to keep trying to dilute it? To keep it from killing everyone!"

Odessa reaches out to grip Elle's shoulder, her look fiercely urgent. "What if we never meet?" Something closer to horror settles in now. "What if we go back and change everything, and you and I, as we are now, don't exist? Doesn't that scare you at all? Surely something good has come out the lives we've led!"

Suddenly, Odessa goes staggering back, dropping her hand back to her side and releasing her hold on Linda, or perhaps her hold on she and Elle. It's tricky to say. "I need to think about it," she says in a quiet voice, made hoarse by emotion.

"Dessa…" Elle turns a frown upon Odessa, her face torn with emotion. "What if I was never there to create Sylar? What if I hadn't intervened when he was trying to kill himself? What if I hadn't betrayed him, and turned him from Gabriel Gray into Sylar?" She frowns. "What if I grow up remembering my birthday, and knowing something close to love? What if I could be someone who could trust people?!" Elle frowns. "What if I had never turned into the person I am now…what if I had grown up to be someone good and sane?"

Elle takes a step away from Odessa, frowning to the ground. Then, she looks back up to Linda, though she still addresses Odessa. "It's scary…but I would do anything." There, she said it. "My entire life, I've only ever been stabbed in the back by people. Nobody can be sure what changes it'll bring…but I think they'll be for the better." She nods toward Linda. "I'll do it. Just tell me what I need to do."

A roll of Linda's eyes lets Odessa and Elle know what she thinks about the former's near hysterics. "Give us some more credit. Nobody's just going to stop existing. For one thing, you're safe if you're the one doing the traveling. For another, what makes you think we don't already have someone on Volken? He had a mother once. If we really wanted, all we'd have to do is go back to before—"

She cuts herself short, lips pressed into a thin line. "Never mind," she says. "My employer knows what he's doing, and if growing up together is important to you, then that can be arranged." Turning as if to leave, she slips both hands into her pockets, arches her back and is rewarded with a sharp pop that originates somewhere close to the bottom of her spine. "Sure," she tells Elle. "I'll come for you when he's ready. Until then."

And then she's gone, the space where she'd been standing utterly empty except for the breeze that had been fluttering her lapels only a few moments ago.

Peter Petrelli and the Grays aren't the only ones with more than one gift.

The acknowledgement of Odessa's outburst is unsettling. She wasn't supposed to see that! The temporal manipulator is left staring at the empty space Linda occupied moments before for several seconds before she turns to Elle. "I hope you know what you're doing. Don't let these people talk you into anything that doesn't feel right. You have the power to tell them no." Even if they don't know who this Samuel is. "Be careful."

Elle stares silently at the spot where Linda once stood, tucking her hands into her own pockets. "I don't like me, Odessa. You might like me, fucking Warren might like me, but I don't like me." She glances toward Odessa, a frown upon her face. "I would trade everything that I have to get my mother back. Maybe…maybe I could've had a happy life. Maybe you could have had one, too. Maybe…maybe we'll be neighbors, and grow up as best friends, instead of as enemies. She said as much."

Suddenly, Elle turns, wrapping Odessa in a tight hug. "I don't know about you, but I would like that."

Odessa is too stunned at first to return the hug, but soon enough she brings her arms up to wrap around the other girl's waist, holding her close. She rests her chin on Elle's brunette head and stares out at the water glittering in the sun. "All right, Ellie…"

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